Sunday, October 25, 2009

Vegan MoFo III: Sucka Emcees Call Me Sire

I wish I was the [Queen] of Rock, but I'm actually the queen of losing recipes.  I cannot tell you how many recipes I've lost because I wrote them down on scratch paper and accidentally recycled it.    Today marks the beginning of food memories week.  One of the things I was totally set to do was revisit and rework my menudo recipe from last year.  I have a special connection to menudo.  It has helped many a vegan hangover.  So of course, I couldn't find the recipe.

While searching for menudo recipes, I happened upon one by Michael Chiarello.  I glanced at the ratings and saw that two crassholes gave the recipe a 1 star rating (without making it) because it was made with chili powder and not chili sauce.  Uh?  Menudo is like every other recipe on the planet.  There are basic components, but beyond that it's familial.  But I was intrigued.  So I set out to make my own chili sauce.

Now, I've never had menudo with tripas because organ meats always creeped me out.  But I did have a basic idea on what I wanted to use.  As far as I can tell, menudo is a really simple soup.  It usually has chili powder/sauce, hominy, onion, garlic, oregano, meaty bits, and maybe cumin.  Easy, right?  Well I went for the recipe found here.  I halved the actual menudo recipe and only made a quarter of the chili sauce.  Here's what I did.

Vegan Menudo
*Note: This recipe is considered a fail. Prepare at your own risk*
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1/3 cup red chile sauce (recipe below)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1.5 cups hominy, drained
2 cups seitan, cut into bite size pieces
1/2 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 Tbsp oregano (preferably Mexican)
1 tsp cumin seed
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro, lime, green onion, and/or chopped onion for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in saucepan.  Saute onion and garlic until translucent.  Add the chili sauce, vegetable broth, and water.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, add remaining ingredients (not the garnishes) and let simmer for 15 minutes.

Chili Sauce/Paste
2 oz dried ancho chiles, whole
1 small garlic clove, minced
pinch of ground cumin
3/4 tsp vinegar
1/4 tsp oregano (preferrably Mexican)
small pinch salt
1/4 tsp sugar

Put the whole dried ancho chiles on a hot dry griddle or frying pan and toss around a bit until they just barely begin to change color. Do this carefully, the chiles will scorch easily.

Remove chiles, place in a paper bag, and let cool. Remove stems and most of the seeds. Place in a pan, cover with boiling water and let steep 15-20 minutes. Reserve liquid.  Run through a food mill or a food processor, adding reserved liquid to help the paste along 1 tablespoon at a time if needed.

Return chile mixture to pan and add garlic, cumin, vinegar, oregano, salt, and sugar to the chile pulp.

Simmer over low heat for a 3 -4 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.

Okay.  Thoughts.  I am not a fan of the chile sauce!  Sorry food snobs!  Ha ha.  I much prefer ancho chili powder because this soup turned out somewhat bitter.  I had to add a bunch of lime juice to even force down the small cup I had.  Era ate most of this.  Blech.

Menudo makes me think of Sundays in San Antonio, but I will just have to perfect the recipe I created last year.  It was good to reminisce about home, especially because I miss it a lot right now.

Coming up this week: a Spike Lee joint Movie Monday, enchiladas poblanos, s'ghetti on my sweaty, chili 3 ways, green tofu and ham, and something Halloweeny!  I'm kinda sad this is the last week!  I've enjoyed reading all your blogs.


jessy said...

i've never had (or heard of) menudo before, but now i'm super interested! i'm sorry you didn't care for the chili sauce in yours - i think it looks most yummy though.

looking forward to Spike Lee movie monday, green 'fu 'n ham, and something Halloween & awesome!

the end of mofo is near and i'm getting a little sadfaced, too - it has been tons of fun, fo 'sho!

Anonymous said...

I hope you figure out the menudo thing, I used to like it but I don't really remember it anymore.

af said...

I've never heard of menudo either, except for this one.

Eddie G said...

Great post, Mo!

aTxVegn said...

Oh, man, this brings back memories! My dad loved menudo, not the vegan kind! He would take me to a hole in the wall Mexican restaurant and I would hold my nose while he ate it up. I'm sure your vegan offering is much better, and thanks for the memories!

Anonymous said...

Loved the photography on this one. (And so did my husband!) Also, so ironic that I just mentioned tripe on my Facebook page this week. Said if you could make tripe taste good, then why not tofu? LOL!